Clean and Green – this new focus on smart living and sustainable urban space, found affirmation in India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the world’s zero carbon smart city in the UAE. Mr Modi, who has unfurled the dream of 100 smart cities in India, looked visibly impressed as he took a ride in a self-driven car that runs on solar powered batteries in Masdar, a 5.95 sq km strip located 17 km southeast of Abu Dhabi international airport.
Mr Modi discussed urban development and next generation urban spaces with United Arab Emirates officials on August 17. He was also briefed on Masdar city’s Private Rapid Transport System. Impressed with the city, Mr Modi wrote ‘Science is Life’ in the visitor’s book at Masdar city.
Masdar city project aims to turn Abu Dhabi into an international hub for renewable energy and to support the development and commercialisation of sustainable technology. The smart city concept is a key agenda of Mr Modi’s development plans. Masdar was meant to be an incubator for a new generation of Emirati green start-ups with an aim to garner investments in green energy and technology. This, in the long run, would earn Abu Dhabi significant revenue if its oil runs out. But due to the global financial crisis in 2008, Dubai’s state-owned investment company ran up a debt of USD 59 billion that left Abu Dhabi with little to invest in Masdar city.
Addressing an investors’ meet in Masdar, Mr Modi said that his government had “got some problems in legacy and his immediate priority would be to kick start things, which were stalled by the ‘indecisiveness and lethargy’ of the past governments.”
“The world is looking towards Asia of which India, which is growing fast, and the UAE are important parts. I can clearly see that the UAE should be at the centre of important issues in Asia. UAE’s power and India’s potential can make them Asia’s stronghold,” said PM Modi.
He said that it had taken 34 years for an Indian Prime Minister to visit UAE after Indira Gandhi. “I promise this will not happen again,” he assured.
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